The Night Before by Wendy Walker (Mini-Review)

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Laura Lochner has never been lucky in love. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Devastated by the end of her last relationship, she fled her Wall Street job and New York City apartment for her sister’s home in the Connecticut suburb where they both grew up. Though still haunted by the tragedy that’s defined her entire life, Laura is determined to take one more chance on love with a man she’s met on an Internet dating site.

Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. Laura’s return, under mysterious circumstances, has cast a shadow over Rosie’s peaceful life with her husband and young son – a shadow that grows darker as Laura leaves the house for her blind date.

When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst. She’s not responding to calls or texts, and she’s left no information about the man she planned to meet. As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. She’s worried about what Laura may have done to him…”

-Synopsis from Goodreads


This will be a mini-review of The Night Before because I only made it sixty-three pages into the book before deciding to abandon it.

What went wrong?

For me, this book was very, very, very slow. Maybe the intent was to build suspense by dragging out the so-called night before, but it was dragging in the worst possible way. I looked ahead and lo and behold, every single hour of that night before was going to be covered throughout the book, much to my dismay. I know the book is called The Night Before, so maybe the joke was on me?

No matter how you spin it, all stories are character driven, in my opinion. There was a huge effort to personalize these characters (Laura, Rosie, Joe, Gabe) but it was such an effort that it had the opposite effect of making me care about them. There was repeated mentioning of a big secret from Laura and Rosie’s past, an event that had such a significant effect on the two of them and the entire neighborhood that Laura left and never came back, until recently.

What was the secret?

I don’t know, because it wasn’t revealed in the first fifty (or sixty) pages and I think that was a mistake. Without liking the characters, I am only going to care about this secret for so long before it’s no longer relevant. Similarly, we are told over and over how rough and tough Laura is without any convincing proof. I need to know what happened in their past to justify pretty much everything and since that wasn’t revealed from the get-go, I just didn’t find the rest of the story to be compelling. It left me without a reason to keep reading.

Ultimately I was annoyed with how Laura was ignoring every single warning sign she was picking up on during her date with Jonathan Fields. For as street-smart and tough as Laura is made to be, she is awfully gullible when it comes to listening to her sister Rosie’s advice about how to behave on a date, such that she drops her entire personality and chooses to not see the warning signs in front of her. It made Laura seem wishy-washy and that didn’t add up with how she was portrayed earlier.

Okay, that was a lot of words for a book I didn’t care about enough to finish, but my DNF Mini-Reviews tends to be longer than the reviews of books I enjoyed. When I choose to put down a book, there are often very specific reasons as to why, and I want to be clear about those when I write about the book.

On to the next book!

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